Batepapo, the debut CD by Brazilian drummer Alexandre Cunha can be summed up in one word , generous, or maybe infectious would be a better choice. Generous, because each of the 10 tracks on this disk are not short on anything, not on the rhythm or on the wonderful style of playing that each encompasses. Each track is one that when you hear it you need to get up and dance to it. I listened to this on a cold winters night in January and when I shut my eyes I felt that I was standing on a warm sandy beach in Brazil at sunset with the ocean breeze coming in and a cold drink in one hand and a beautiful woman on my arm. OK, maybe that is going a little to far, but you get the idea. You can say infectious, because Latin music has a way of working it's under your skin and getting to the very heart and soul of the listener, making the listener feel as if they were born and raised in Brazil.
"Bachiao," the opening number, starts off slowly with just a guitar and begins to add layer upon layer until it gets to the point of having the entire ensemble playing and it carries you along on a warm wave of playing that relaxes you and leaves you feeling so much the better for hearing it. "Bate Papo," on the other hand, starts of with this improvisational drum and conga riff that segues nicely into some smooth saxophone playing by Marcelo Martins. The accordion is not an instrument that you often associate with Latin Jazz, but on "Pescador", played by Dominguinhos, it fits in well and along with bass playing of Serginho Carvalho and the drum line by Cunha it is a nice change of pace.
"Ritmo de Viagem" is slow soulful song played again by saxophonist Martins and it sways gently back and forth, giving each instrument a chance to be fully heard, thus allowing the song to drift easily with the emotional tide. It is hard to pick out one favorite song on this disk, each in its own way stands apart from the other and at the same time help to build an overall feeling of enjoyment.
Alexandre Cunha, is a drummer of formidable talent and he has the skills to both back his fellow musicians and lead them when needed. It was this same passion for music that lead his father to create the instrument that still carries the family name. (Ordery - drums known to be among the finest in the world.) Alexandre also is a writer and contributes a column for Modern Drum Brazil magazine a prestigious music magazine in his native Brazil.
Batepapo is one of those CD's that you can play over and over again. Each new listen brings new enjoyment and leaves you with a serene sense of well being and joy in living.